Yami Gautam pledges support for wildlife sniffer dog programme
Gwalior, India, 17th December 2018—Well-known Indian Bollywood actress Yami Gautam has been named as the Brand Ambassador for TRAFFIC and WWF-India’s wildlife sniffer dog “Super Sniffer Programme.”
Yami recently visited the Super Sniffer Graduation Ceremony at the National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD), BSF Academy, Gwalior, where she pledged her support to the Programme.
TRAFFIC, with support from WWF-India, launched the Super Sniffer Programme in India to help combat illegal wildlife trade in 2008. The initiative has helped raise and train wildlife detector dog squads to strengthen anti-poaching and anti-trafficking measures of Forest Departments and other enforcement agencies concerned with wildlife protection. The Super Sniffers have been involved in at least 250 wildlife seizures in India and have been trained to detect tiger bone and skin, leopard bone and skin, elephant tusk, bear bile and Caterpillar Fungus.
At the Graduation Ceremony, TRAFFIC and WWF-India’s seventh batch of 10 dogs and their handlers passed out to join their counterparts deployed across the country, taking the total strength of TRAFFIC’s wildlife sniffer dog squads to 66. These dog squads belong to the Forest Departments of Telangana, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru.
Yami said, ‘’Illegal wildlife trade is increasing by the day, threatening the existence of our wildlife and the rich biodiversity of India. For me, these heroic dogs are not just ‘man’s best friends’, but also nature’s best friends! I have heard some heartwarming stories of their bravery during the ceremony and I am proud to be able to help and support their cause.’’
Dr Saket Badola, IFS, Head of TRAFFIC’s India office said, ‘’Illegal wildlife trade and trafficking is a transnational and organised criminal activity, threatening the future of our wild resources. Tigers, leopards, elephants, pangolins, birds, timber species like red sanders, orchids, turtles and tortoises and many other endangered wildlife are targeted for this illicit trade. Super Sniffers have proven to be the game changers, acting with tremendous skill and courage to protect wildlife. Yami’s support to the Super Sniffer programme will help us spread awareness about the issue of wildlife trafficking and poaching. It will also help us strengthen the work that the Super Sniffers and their handlers are doing to protect the wildlife of this country.’’
Dr G.S Nag, CVO, Officer Commanding, NTCD said: “This is third batch of wildlife sniffer dogs that was trained at NTCD under TRAFFIC’s programme and we are happy to have partnered for this important cause. Support of well-known personalities like Yami Gautam will help bring visibility and acknowledgement to the efforts of wildlife sniffer dogs in the field of wildlife protection in India”.
TRAFFIC is a leading non-governmental organisation working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development whose mission is to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. More information at www.traffic.org